Microsoft

Windows 8 in the Enterprise: Why IT pros say no

Gina Smith surveyed enterprise tech pros about their intentions regarding Windows 8. The reaction was less than enthusiastic.

We surveyed 50 tech pros via Google plus, as well as 15 tech pros from large enterprises at the geek site I run about whether they were gearing up for a Windows 8 switch.

Out of 50 tech pros I interviewed at enterprises around the world, 41 said they had no plans to bring in Windows 8 because of learning curve issues. Many are racing to upgrade XP systems to Windows 7 now and Windows 7 sales are as brisk, or brisker, than ever - the opposite of what typically happens before a major OS release comes out.

The move is on

But there is nothing usual about this. There appears to be a massive move to upgrade Windows XP based PCs in the enterprise - MS sold 70 million Windows 7 licenses in just the last quarter - and avoid the huge UI change involving tiles designed more for mobile devices than desktops.

Credit: Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain.net

Consider too that Microsoft announced it would stop supporting Windows XP, that stable and much beloved OS, come April 2014. And there are more options than ever in open systems and enterprise offerings from Google and Apple, to boot.

"I think Windows 8 will make Vista look like a champ," Santa Monica tech pro Luis Levy told me.

That's a scary thought. Is Windows 8 destined to become the Vista of 2012? Really?

Not out of the realm of possibility.

Tech pro Patrick He says no Windows 8 for his enterprise - no way, no how, and not now, definitely. "We'll (likely) stick with 2008/sbs2011 for the near future. Mostly because we're (only now) finally convincing (the enterprise) to move to the new-fangled system and even then we're having resistance."

We provide IT services to SMBs and a lot of them look at what they've got and say "It works." So I don't need to spend the cash. As far as desktop users (in that enterprise) go, most don't want Windows 7 because they're used to XP - and some have software that hasn't been updated in years," He added.

For most of the enterprise he works at, he added, the new UI and features in "Windows 8 would be almost too much of a culture shock.

Tech pro Patrick Hegyes of Indianapolis pointed out, "On the desktop side, even most of the people I try converting to Windows 7 are reluctant since the UI is different from XP. With Windows 8 it's completely different" again.

For Hegyes, if the decision to go to Windows 8 is ever made, it'll happen after "users get their laptops and PCs at home on Windows 8, adjust to (the UI) there. Then I can move them forward when they're comfortable," Hegyes said.

In the Business Insider, +Julie Ort compared the barrier to learning the new Win 8 UI on desktops to "Ben and Jerry's discontinuing Cherries Garcia ice cream and trying to get everyone to switch to Greek yogurt - even while Cherry Garcia is still flying off the shelves. Yeah, Greek yogurt is all the rage right now in dairy delights, but you can't really force (it) down the throats of people who prefer ice cream."

Mitesh Shah, a tech pro in Ahmedabad, India, spoke most harshly. "No Microsoft product is allowed in our network. The reason behind this decision is we think we can fix our servers in Linux much easier. Like suppose there are some situations where we can fix our servers by modify some system files, I can modify Linux system files and release my patches online so other Linux users can read my patches and help me to make these patches more useful," he said.

Adding, "For the people I personally advise and help with their IT infrastructure, we will probably stick with 2008/sbs2011 for the foreseeable future. I am just now convincing them to switch to the current system since their 2003 installations have worked up until this point. A lot of people I help don't have the budget to switch to a new OS just yet."

Microsoft is set to stop supporting Windows XP, an early 2000 era pre Vista OS that is stable and still has a loyal following. Its push now into the enterprise is with ARM tablets running Windows 8. With no Outlook, will it work?

Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain.net

Road less traveled

Colorado Springs systems admin and tech pro Eric Beehler is taking a ride down that Microsoft avenue, one of only eight IT pros I spoke to who also plan Windows 8 adoption, though they're not sure how or when. Windows 8 on tablets is the big enterprise play that attracts Beehler.

"I think my first target for 2012 server will be for core Windows services like file servers and domain controllers. For Windows 8, tablets will likely be first in a specific use case scenario, especially where people didn't like a Citrix solution on an iPad. Desktops will be Windows 7 for a while."

And Windows 8 does have its fans among the gang I spoke with.

Alexander Genato, a tech pro in the Philippines, said "actually like it and am still using the consumer preview on one of my old laptops. I probably won't upgrade most of my old gadgets to Win 8 but will on my newer devices. (Personally) I will probably buy in on some new touch friendly device. It looked weird at first, but it gets you hooked on its UI after a few days."

He added:  "This is also the big risk. People generally tend to hate change."

Outlook

No kidding. Consider Outlook - or the lack thereof - on ARM based Windows 8 tablets. What is up with that?

The fact that ARM-based tablets - like the small-screened Microsoft Surface - are at all hobbled doesn't bode well. Microsoft needs to get great apps for Windows 8 out there and court these enterprises. The Microsoft decision is no longer a slam dunk. Far from it; stay tuned.

Gina Smith is editorial director of the deep geek site aNewDomain.net and writes about Microsoft and other topics here for Tech Republic. Email her at Gina@ginasmith.com.

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About

Gina Smith is a NYT best-selling author of iWOZ, the biography of Steve Wozniak. She is a vet tech journalist and chief of the geek tech site, aNewDomain.net.

191 comments
banaun
banaun

We will just wait until most people try it out first and come out the patch then only we will consider to use the new OS. For old PC with old OS, there will be no action to upgrade to the latest version of OS. For a company, the budget for IT have to be tightly control. The new implementation of OS cannot be just carry out over night and expect every one to use it and face no problems. There will be many problems we will need to face. For example when we have our new Windows 7, there is network share problems that need to be solved. Without those post and people had tried, we will be facing even bigger issues. Even so, till now there is still some network share folder that unable to work at certain time. And have to use workaround to settle. Vista is the worst nightmare we ever had. With the experienced we learned. It prove to works very well when Windows 7 come out. With the drastic change of UI, a lot of training time will be needed for the staffs. Also for the technical people. Certain hardware, the driver is totally not supported. So the rules is, as long as it is working. There is no need to change. Unless there is really a lot of benefits. Else change and progress will be carry out steps by steps. Even for Windows 7, we have to downgrade some to Windows XP. Reason is cause either of software not supported or driver issues.

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